GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Davenport came into today's game knowing they had a chance to win at least a share of the GLIAC regular-season title, but little did they know they could win the title outright. There was a couple moving pieces for the Panthers to earn the title, one included Davenport defeating Northern Michigan and the other was Saginaw Valley State beating Ashland. All the stars aligned for Davenport with Saginaw Valley beating Ashland by three points and the Panthers defeating Northern Michigan by three points as well. The win notched the Panthers 16th conference win of the season, two more than any other GLIAC team with only one game left on everyone's schedule. The championship is the first regular-season title for Davenport in any sport since joining the GLIAC in the 2017-18 season.
Final Score: Davenport-74 | Northern Michigan-71
Location: Grand Rapids, Mich.
POINTS PER HALF
First Half: DU-38 | NMU-32
Second Half: DU-36 | NMU-39
HOW IT HAPPENED
During the pregame, Davenport recognized their three seniors; Dyllon Hudson-Emory, Khadim Dieng, and student assistant Joel Murphy. The team had a great energy heading into the game and didn't let up as the ball was tossed for the opening tip. Junior Robbie Bramhill was inserted to the starting lineup today and made a difference early for Davenport. Bramhill had eight points and four rebounds in the opening five minutes of play. The first media timeout came with 14:28 to play in the half and Davenport held a 12-7 advantage. The Panthers continued their aggressive play, scoring six straight points after the break to take a 17-5 lead. Northern Michigan got their feet underneath them and scored a couple buckets to cut the lead down to eight points with 10 minutes on the clock. Davenport responded with seven unanswered points of their own, capped by a Janeau Joubert three, to build a 15-point lead. The Wildcats quickly changed the momentum of the game when they scored 11 consecutive points, cutting the DU lead down to four points with 5:02 remaining in the half. After a chippy end to the half, Davenport led by a score of 38-32.
Coming into the second half, Northern Michigan had multiple starters in foul trouble. Sam Taylor, Myles Howard, and Troy Summers all had three fouls in the first half. The opening play of the second half put Howard into even more foul trouble. Bramhill missed a three; Avery Hudson streaked into the paint and grabbed the offensive board, he then dished the ball off to a cutting Bramhill who rose up and finished a layup while receiving contact from Howard. The foul gave Howard his fourth and the Northern Michigan shot blocker was sent to the bench. Bramhill hit the additional free throw and Davenport took a 41-32 lead. The lead hovered around double digits for Davenport up until the middle part of the half. Davenport held a 53-43 lead with 15:16 on the clock, and then Northern Michigan scored 10 straight points, tying the game at 53 points each. Instead of folding, the Panthers rolled off six points of their own to take a six-point lead. The Wildcats wouldn't go away, as Naba Echols was hitting shot after shot for Northern Michigan. Davenport led 68-62 after a three by Bramhill and took a 30-second timeout with 5:49 left to play. Coming out of the timeout, Hudson-Emory scored the Panthers next six points. After Hudson-Emory's layup, with 3:25 on the clock, Davenport went scoreless to finish the game. Regardless of getting cold and not scoring, the Panthers tightened up on defense and got some key blocks and rebounds from Bramhill and Tafari Beckford. Echols missed a three with a couple seconds on the clock, which could've tied the game, and Chaz Birchfield secured the defensive rebound! Panthers win!
Points: Hudson-Emory (22)
Rebounds: Bramhill (12)
Assists: Hudson (9)
Steals: Joubert (2)
Blocks: Bramhill/Beckford (2)
-The 11 game win streak is the longest of the season.
-Davenport secured a GLIAC regular-season title with the win and Ashland loss.
-Hudson was one assist and three rebounds away from a triple double.
-Bramhill's double-double is the second of his career.
Bramhill: 19 points & 12 rebounds
"Our kids set some pretty lofty goals and accomplished them! If you don't dream big nothing big will ever happen. These student-athletes are off the charts people, who just care more about each other than any stat or personal accomplishment.
We really appreciate all the support from staff, faculty and most importantly the students who have supported our efforts this season! A highlight of the day was being able to celebrate with the enthusiastic group of students who showed up today!
Although we have achieved a major goal that these kids set out to accomplish, I know our student-athletes and coaches are fired up to get to work on Monday to FINISH this thing the right way. We have a huge challenge on Thursday vs a streaking Grand Valley State team. It will be a great atmosphere and our kids (I know) will be excited for the challenge of competing on GV's senior day!" – Head Coach Burt Paddock
Davenport has one more final regular-season game left on their schedule. The Panthers travel to Grand Valley on Thursday for an 8:00 p.m. tip.
Story by: Devin Steiner